CLEARWATER, Fla. – Don’t let the Sunshine State Games (SSG) International Beach Games, being held at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach September 27-29, fool you.
This isn’t some giant beach party with the Gulf of Mexico serving as a backdrop.
Among the 300 athletes registered to compete are Beach Tennis players, Powerlifters, Ultimate players, Weight Throwers, Highland Games athletes and volleyball players who have traveled the world and set national and international records.
Matteo Godio, originally from Italy, now living in Delray Beach, is currently ranked second in the International Federation of Beach Tennis (IFBT) Men’s Singles world rankings. He is also ranked 13th in Men’s Doubles.
While Powerlifting will be held inside of the Sheraton Sand Key Resort, the 90 lifters will have the opportunity to set world records with their bench presses, squats and deadlifts. In order to have the world records certified, an additional international official will be on hand for the competition, according to Sport Director Richard Ficca.
“The powerlifting at the Beach Games this weekend, is one of only seven events in the United States this year where world records can be set,” said Ficca. “Otherwise, athletes would have to travel to an international event.”
With an event of such magnitude, powerlifters from 12 states, including Florida, have registered to compete.
On the Ultimate fields, an area of the Beach Games that never seems to be lacking in fun, there will be some serious players flinging the disc downfield. Mark Schimmel, Mark Mendelevitz, Jo Cheng, and Natasha Bedoya-Ross were members of the Triple Crown Ultimate Mixed team that traveled to Amsterdam to compete in the Windmill Tournament that featured 80 teams from around the world.
Their team was derived from a Triple Crown of tournaments they hoped to attend in 2019, the Lei Out in California, the Hopu Ka Leiwa in Hawaii and the Windmill in Amsterdam.
Petrus Sundevall, a Swede now living in Fort Lauderdale and working as a boat captain, has traveled to international Highland Games competitions and won world championships in the Caber Toss and Braemar Stone.
Sundevall won those events at the 17th annual Scottish Masters Heavy Events World Championships held in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland, in late June 2017. Then 43, he won those events in the masters lightweight division (over age 40 and under 200 pounds).
The Caber Toss involves athletes attempting to flip a 21-foot pole, weighing up to 125 pounds, end over end. The Braemar stone, is an event in which competitors must throw a 22- to 24-pound stone as far as they can while standing still, feet planted firmly in place.
Sundevall will compete with his 12-year old daughter, Rowan, on Saturday in the USATF Super Weight Throws competition before competing in the Highland Games on Sunday. Rowan will start throwing a 12-pound weight, while Petrus, in the Ultra Weight Pentathlon, will throw weights of 35, 56, 98, 200 and 300 pounds.
Sundevall won a silver medal in the Ultra Weight Pentathlon and a bronze medal in the Highland Games competition at the 2018 Beach Games in the 40-49 age groups.
The Sheraton Sand Key Resort hosts this Fifth Annual event with competition in seven sports. The SSG International Beach Games is also supported locally by Visit St. Pete Clearwater (VSPC) and St. Pete Clearwater Sports & Events.
For more information about this weekend’s event, visit http://www.sunshinestategames.com/beach-games.
About the Sunshine State Games
The 40th Sunshine State Games are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Sunshine State Games, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide. #PlayInFlorida